Happy July Fourth!


Happy July 4th! I hope everyone had a safe and fun day with friends and family (and with plenty of delicious food, of course!). This cake is from Better Homes and Gardens Festive Fourth of July Desserts. I didn’t put the jam on it; however, I think it still turned out well. Just a simple cake with plenty of fresh berries and frosting!

What did you make for July 4th?

Cheers!

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Trophy Cupcakes

A few weeks ago, I went with a few friends to a promotional event that was hosted by Google Places and had the pleasure of trying (for the first time!) an infamous cupcake from Trophy Cupcakes. Although I did not finish the entire cupcake due to an enormous amount of frosting, the salted caramel cupcake I chose was unique and absolutely delicious. Based on taste and presentation alone, I will definitely look to Trophy Cupcakes again when in the mood for a cupcake!

Strawberry-Almond-Cream-Tart

So, continuing with this past weekend’s trend of using almonds, I found a recipe for a Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart during a recent shopping excursion at the local grocery store. After looking through recipe after recipe in the grocery store magazine aisle, I finally settled upon this one. But, I’m not going to lie, at first glance, I solely wanted to try this recipe because it looked “pretty” and it contained almonds. It wasn’t until after my impulse buy and I was in the car already on the way home that I realized that this would be a perfect dessert for a dinner party: light, summery, and the strawberries I had chosen were actually ripe!

Step 1: Crush Graham Crackers (You
Can Use a Food Processor — I Just Chose
to Smash Them in Bags!)


Step 2: Combine Crushed Graham Cracker
Crumbs With Butter and Sugar 


Step 3: Spray Pan With Cooking Spray;
Press Graham Cracker Crumbs Into Pan 


Step 4: Mix Cream Cheese With Almond
and Vanilla Extracts Plus Sugar 


Step 5: Cut Fresh Strawberries


Step 6: Add Strawberries and
Almonds to Top; Bake and Enjoy! 


Although I altered a few things from the original recipe, I’m happy with how it turned out. I really liked implementing nuts into this dessert because I often don’t ever think to add them to desserts. The key for the best flavor is to toast the almonds and the key to the best construction of this dessert is to use enough cooking spray (I didn’t and had some architectural failure when taking it out of the spring form pan). Anyway, all in all, this is a flavorful dessert that is light and doesn’t leave you feeling too full which is just perfect for summertime!

Cheers!

Easter Cupcakes

Cupcakes are absolutely one of my favorite desserts. Although it may seem strange, the actual ingredients and tastes of cupcakes are not the reasons why I love them. My love of cupcakes stems from the endless possibilities of intricate designs, colors, and presentation features available to put on these quaint little cakes. For example, in the past, I’ve experimented with different icing lettering, vibrant frostings, and cookies/candies galore to add onto the top. Simply, cupcakes are a fun dessert.

One of my favorite cupcake recipe books is titled Hello, Cupcake. Although I did not follow a recipe from this clever book for this blog post, I highly recommend to either buy, peruse the book, or check out their website for fun ideas (in the past year, I made the Snowman and Penguin cupcakes — they seemed daunting, but they turned out really well!).

Anyway, I hadn’t made a “creative” dessert in quite some time. I first became inspired to make cupcakes after a friend bought me a “Cupcake Kit” (from Chronicle Books/Elinor Klivans and seen here).

This kit contains a reusable pastry bag, assorted piping tips, and cupcake baking liners. With this added inspiration, I began to scan the Food Network website for potential cupcake ideas. I finally found a recipe for Chick and Egg Cupcakes and decided to make a version of these to put me into the Easter spirit. I didn’t follow the recipe 100% (I cheated and used boxed cupcake mix to save some time), but I really enjoyed the results!

Step 1: Bake Cupcakes and Let Cool

Step 2: Add Green Dye to Frosting and Coconut

Step 3: Frost; Layer Coconut, Eggs, and Peeps on Top;
Use Pastry Tips to Make Intricate Designs

 

That last picture of a cupcake looks a bit haphazard; however, it was fun to experiment with different pipping techniques. I definitely need to improve with cupcake decorating — my next quest will be to find tips on how to best use the pipping utensil in order to produce the best results.

Until then…


[as seen from “The Cupcake Kit”]

Cheers!